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College Sports, Education

NCAA Basketball Tournament is Here: Sports Wagering Rules for Athletics Staff and Student-Athletes

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament begins today. The tournament also is the target of office betting pools, contests and other sports wagering activities. However, NCAA legislation prohibits certain individuals from participating in sports wagering activities. We will review the applicable rules.

NCAA Bylaw 10.3 prohibits the following individuals from “knowingly participat[ing] in sports wagering activities or provid[ing] information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition: (a) Staff members of an institution’s athletics department; (b) Nonathletics department staff members who have responsibilities within or over the athletics department (e.g., chancellor or president, faculty athletics representative, individual to whom athletics reports); (c) Staff members of a conference office; and (d) Student-athletes.”

NCAA Bylaw 10.02.1 defines “sports wagering” to include “placing, accepting or soliciting a wager (on a staff member’s or student-athlete’s own behalf or on the behalf of others) of any type with any individual or organization on any intercollegiate, amateur or professional team or contest. Examples of sports wagering include, but are not limited to, the use of a bookmaker or parlay card; Internet sports wagering; auctions in which bids are placed on teams, individuals or contests; and pools or fantasy leagues in which an entry fee is required and there is an opportunity to win a prize.”

NCAA Bylaw 10.02.2 defines a “wager” as “any agreement in which an individual or entity agrees to give up an item of value (e.g., cash, shirt, dinner) in exchange for the possibility of gaining another item of value.”

NCAA Bylaw 10.3.1 limits the scope of this prohibition “against sports wagering . . . to any institutional practice or any competition (intercollegiate, amateur or professional) in a sport in which the Association conducts championship competition, in bowl subdivision football and in emerging sports for women.” However, NCAA Bylaw 10.3.1.1 provides an exception involving “traditional wagers between institutions (e.g., traditional rivalry) or in conjunction with particular contests (e.g., bowl games). Items wagered must be representative of the involved institutions or the states in which they are located.”

Finally, NCAA Bylaw 10.3.2 lists the sanctions for student-athletes involved in sports wagering activities:

“(a) A student-athlete who engages in activities designed to influence the outcome of an intercollegiate contest or in an effort to affect win-loss margins (“point shaving”) or who participates in any sports wagering activity involving the student-athlete’s institution shall permanently lose all remaining regular-season and postseason eligibility in all sports.

(b) A student-athlete who participates in any sports wagering activity through the Internet, a bookmaker or a parlay card shall be ineligible for all regular-season and postseason competition for a minimum period of one year from the date of the institution’s determination that a violation occurred and shall be charged with the loss of a minimum of one season of eligibility. If the student-athlete is determined to have been involved in a later violation of any portion of Bylaw 10.3, the student-athlete shall permanently lose all remaining regular-season and postseason eligibility in all sports.”

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

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